THE gauntlet has been thrown down between former world eventing champion Zara Phillips and 19-times champion jump jockey AP McCoy OBE ahead of the JCB Champions Challenge event at the St James's Place Wealth Management Barbury International Horse Trials, which get under way next Thursday (July 3).
The duo will be team captains for the a unique 'horse race' between some of the country’s top riders, which will take place on the on Saturday (July 5).
Phillips and McCoy are competing in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF), of which McCoy is vice-patron and Phillips mother, HRH The Princess Royal, is patron.
They will go head to head in the race over a specifically-designed course of fences including a water jump. The Challenge is between jump jockeys and event riders, with two supporting teams.
Joining McCoy are seven-times champion jockey John Francome, now president of the IJF, and Sam Twiston-Davies, 21, the brightest of the new generation of young jumps jockeys.
The quartet will be completed by Richard Johnson, who is, after McCoy, the second-most successful jockey in jumps history, with more than 2000 winners.
Phillips' eventers team boasts FEI world number one William Fox-Pitt, both who have just been announced as members of Team GB eventing squad for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in August.
Multiple Badminton and Burghley winner Sir Mark Todd, from nearby Badgerstown, and individual gold-medal winning 2009 Young Rider European champion Laura Collett complete the team.
Phillips said: "It’s great to be combining the horse trials with this special event in aid of the IJF. There are so many different equestrian sports and we all respect and admire each other, especially the jump jockeys. It won’t, of course, stop us giving them a good hiding at Barbury!”
McCoy added: "Every jump jockey lives with the reality that he or she is going to have a fall, on average every nine rides. Thankfully, most of the time we get up and walk away. Every now and then, it’s serious, sometimes life-changing.
"The IJF does unbelievable work for hundreds of present and past riders across all disciplines. I’m honoured to be a vice patron of the fund – and to be riding on its behalf at this great event".
"We plan to put on a real show for visitors to Barbury and the other teams should expect to see just a distant rear view of us!"
The JCB Champions Challenge features on the Saturday of the horse trials, where leading event riders will be preparing for the World Equestrian Games in Normandy in August.
The Barbury International runs from July 3-6. Tickets start from £12 per person per day if booked in advance, or £15 on the gate.
Children under 12 years go in free. See barburyhorsetrials.co.uk or call 01672 516125.
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